Fr Hilary Tagliaferro 1970 – 1986
Fr Hilary Tagliaferro was the founding President of the Malta Sports Journalists Association, at that time was known as the Malta Sports Writers Association. He still recalls the moment when the founding members of this association were accepted as members of the AIPS back in the early 1970s in Munich. He was president of the local association for over 17 years.
Fr Hilary was, for many years, one of the top Maltese journalists. He started with a column, once a week, in Il-Haddiem with later daily and subsequently Il-Hajja. In 1970, he was called to cover the World Cup in Mexico for this newspaper. He had an edge over the other journalists since all around the world he had free accommodation since he used to go and settle in an Augustinian priory.
When in Mexico, late sport journalist Lewis Portelli and Joe Grima, who was the CEO of the Malta Broadcasting Authority, called him and asked him to give them a short telephone call every morning during the 6.45am Sports News on Radju Malta. That was also the start of his television career, which lasted over 20 years.
He got to know Pele during the 1970 World Cup. They became friends, and every World Cup, he used to invite him over to his hotel for lunch. Among these episodes is the famous visit Pele made in Malta when they made a great show at the Empire Stadium which included the participation of the children from Centru Sport Edukattiv. It was not just Pele since he met other players, namely Maradona, Bobby Charlton, George Best, Franz Beckenbauer, and many more.
In the 1970s, he started thinking of establishing a school of football. Since he had already started his journalistic career, he had already visited Celtic Park, Real Madrid, and Coverciano, among others. And so his dream turned into reality when Centru Sport Edukattiv was set up. He gathered a good number of PE teachers, and over 400 children, boys and girls, attended. It was not only football, but there was also gymnastics, basketball, athletics, and later tennis. Mentioning football, over 10 players of the national team, coached by Dobrev and Heese, got their formation from Centru Sport Edukattiv.
But the energetic priest was also meant to be a head coach of one of the main teams on our island. A priest being a coach was a first for Malta and the world. Fr Hilary accepted the Hibernians’ offer to be their coach.
Fr Hilary was also involved within the MFA sector, with particular attention to the youth sector.
Away from football and sports, Father Hilary will also be remembered for the monument that he created in the heart of Paceville, the mecca of entertainment. He describes the Millenium Chapel as the logical conclusion of his sports life.
Henry Calleja 1987 – 2003 (passed away 2018)
Henry Calleja was one of the founding members and President of the Sportswriters Association from 1987 to 2003, with an outstanding 50-year career as a sports broadcaster. Up until the year before he died, he was still covering domestic league matches for PBS.
He started his career way back in 1964, covering football matches starting with the lower divisions and moving on to the First Division, now known as the Premier League.
Calleja also represented Xandir Malta and the Public Broadcasting Services at several international competitions abroad, including the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, and Mediterranean Games, apart from having been selected to broadcast several international football and water polo matches involving the national teams.
He was a former sports editor of Il-Hajja newspaper and sports editor at The Malta Independent between 1992 and 1997.
He was also known for his objective criticism; he always called white what was white and black what was black without insulting anyone. He did it only for the good of sport, which he held close to his heart.
A teacher by profession, Calleja ended his career as a headmaster. For some time, he was also Secretary of the San Giljan Aquatic Sports Club.
During his term as president of the Malta Sport Writers Association, Calleja represented the association at several international congresses of the International Sports Press Association (AIPS).
The Malta Sports Journalists Association, a year before his demise, had appointed him as Honorary President.
Charles Camenzuli 2003 – 2016
Charles Camenzuli started his journalistic career started in 1973 when he was still eighteen years old. There was an advert on the daily newspaper ‘In-Nazzjon Taghna’ to recruit a sports journalist. He applied and Benny Pace called him over. After a year of training on the 1st March, 1974 he started working officially. An interesting fact is that he’s the longest serving journalist at this Media House going through all stages namely ‘In-Nazzjon’, ‘Il-Mument’ and ‘The Democrat’. Magazines ‘Il-Poplu’ and ‘ Life & Style’, Radio 101 and Net TV.
Starting a career interviewing Pele is not the order of the day. Benny Pace couldn’t make it on the day and he handed over the job to Charles. Meeting and interviewing Pele in his only visit on our shores was for him something out of this world. An interesting anecdote is that after the interview Professor Julio Mazzei, who accompanied Pele and who was the manager and coach of the Brazilian star who took him from Santos to New York Cosmos, called Charles asking for his address since Pele requested it. At that tender age of nineteen Charles didn’t have a visiting card. A few weeks elapsed and he received a Pele shirt which he wore before leaving Santos.
In 1979 Charles Camenzuli was elected in the executive commitee of the Malta Sports Writers Association and assumed the role of Secretary for more than 25 years. He also served 12 years as President of what is known today as Malta Sports Journalists Association.
In his childhood, Charles was influenced by the late Lino Bugeja who apart from being an educator was sport oriented. For him the Olympic Movement meant a lot and it was thanks to him that as a kid he started to understand the definition of sport.
In 1960 his parents decided to buy a television set and that coincided with the Rome Olympics which left a huge impression on him. Charles Camenzuli is one of the first one hundred and twenty journalists from all over the world who attended the most editions of the Olympic Games. A tally of over five hundred interviews from Olympic medalists to World Champions with no refuses or cancellatioms. He attended eleven Olympic Games, four World Cup Finals, eleven editions of the Mediterranean Games and the same amount of Commonwealth Games, Swimming World Championships and Athletics.
Nowadays Charles Camenzuli has been re-confirmed as President of AIPS Europe and Vice President of AIPS. AIPS is the world association of sports journalists and Charles is the only person who attended 39 consecutive congresses since 1981. In 1989 he was elected in the Executive Committee even assuming the roles of Financial Secretary and General Secretary. He has been also elected as Honorary Secretary General ad vitam. He worked with three Presidents namely Frank Taylor, Togay Bayatli and for the last years Gianni Merlo. Top of the Agenda for AIPS are the fight against racism and corruption.
Charles was also active in the Malta Olympic Committee for over twenty-five years and he left citing possibility of conflict of interest after being elected President of the Malta Sports Journalists Association.
Charles Camenzuli is now fully focused on sport and apart from his related AIPS work, he’s a part time lecturer at the University of Malta within the Institute for Physical Education and Sport. Furthermore he’s involved in Sports News on Net TV apart from producing and presenting the multi-sport programme ‘Sport Extra’.
Sandro Micallef 2016 –
Sandro Micallef is a local Sports Journalist / Producer currently employed with TVM Sport within PBS Co Ltd, the National TV Station in Malta. Mr Micallef also holds the role of President of the MSJA (Malta Sports Journalists Association) after he was elected to represent local sports media in the Association’s AGM on 10th July 2017.
He served the MSJA previously as an executive committee member followed by a span of four years occupying the role as General Secretary.
Mr Micallef holds a BA Gen Degree in Sociology and Communications from the University of Malta. After having been introduced and experienced an array of Sports disciplines during his 9 years educational experience at De La Salle College, he joined Floriana FC Youth Nursery and then Valletta FC Youth Nursery respectively where he played football until the age of 19. He also played water polo in the youth teams of Sirens Aquatic Sports Club.
He started his sports media experience at Media.link Communications namely on Net TV in 1999 producing and presenting sports programmes with main interest in local football.
In 2005 Mr Micallef moved on to the private industry where he joined Melita Ltd where he formed part of the Marketing, Programming and Sports Acquisition departments of the company. During the seven years spent at Melita, Mr Micallef used to produce Sports programmes on TVM on a subcontracting basis.
He joined PBS as a full time Sports Journalist / Producer in 2012. Currently Mr Micallef produces the flagship sports TV programmes for TVM Sport and produces several live events like football, water polo, rugby, motorsport and snooker.
He is regularly invited to address media and sports media students at the University of Malta, MCAST and at the Junior College.